Summer is coming soon, and beaches in popular destinations near Manila are going to be really crowded as usual. For those looking for a different destination to visit this summer, Jomalig Island in Quezon offers an escape. It’s not that easy to get to, which means the place remains unspoiled. The golden sand beaches, agoho pine trees, refreshing atmosphere and naturally sights here are just stunning. Jomalig Island is best for those who enjoy unspoiled beaches. This is where you can enjoy back to basics camping away from the crowds.
Since I previously wrote about our Weekend in Jomalig Island, I’ve been getting a lot of inquiries about how to get there and other questions. So here’s a travel guide to help you out with tips compiled from my experience, helpful locals who left comments on my previous post, Jomalig Quezon’s Facebook page and some 2016 updates from blog reader Senilicius (in the comments section).
WHERE EXACTLY IS JOMALIG ISLAND:
Jomalig Island lies about 75 nautical miles (139 km) southeast of Polillo, a group of islands in the northeastern region of the Philippines. Jomalig island is one of the smallest and farthest island municipalities of the Quezon Province. The nearest jump off point to the island from Manila is in Real, which is 3 hours away by private van. From the port in Real to Jomalig, boat rides can take 5 to 6 hours long passing through Lamon Bay, a large body of water connecting the southern part of Quezon province to the Pacific Ocean. It’s even further than the exclusive members-only private island of Balesin.
HOW TO GET TO JOMALIG:
Bus to Real + Boat to Jomalig
- From Legarda Terminal, catch a Raymond Bus bound for Infanta. They usually have a trip every hour and travel time takes about 4-5 hours.
- Tell the driver to drop you off at Ungos Port, “kay Michael Tapado” who owns an ice dealer at the port area. Most of the van drivers knows him, so you will not get lost. There is a tiny hut by the port where passengers bound to Jomalig usually wait.
- Ride a boat bound for Jomalig. Fare ranges from P200 – P350 depending on the type of boat. Travel time takes about 5-6 hours. There’s a boat that leaves for Jomalig at 7:00 am..
- Some boats serve lunch, while some do not. It’s best to bring your own food, water and snacks because of the long travel time.
Van to Real + Boat to Jomalig
- Vans bound for Infanta, Quezon will pass by Real. The terminal is just in front of St. Raymond Station. Fare costs P 220-P250.
- Get off at the Ungos port and follow instructions above.
Bus to Atimonan + Boat to Jomalig
Alternatively, you can also get to Jomalig from the old port in Atimonan, Quezon where the boats are bigger than those in Real.
- Catch the bus going to Atimonan from Kamias or Cubao. JAC or Jam transit travels to the grand central terminal in Lucena City. Fare is P250 per head.
- Take another bus or jeepney going to Atimonan for P75 pesos.
- Once in Atimonan, take a tricycle or ask for direction to the old port. Most boats going to Jomalig are there or go to Island Link General merchandise. The owner is from Jomalig and regular shoppers are from Jomalig. The owner also owns MB Mary Rose
- All boats bound to Jomalig in Atimonan are going to Brgy. Talisoy or Brgy. Moros
- Take MB Nicole or Mary Rose, or just ask the guys at the port area which boats are heading to Jomalig.
The only way to get around Jomalig is by renting a tricycle or a habal-habal (motorcycle). You can rent a motorbike for P600 a day. If you wish to go on an island-hopping trip, a small boat costs around P1,200 while bigger boats could be rented for P4,000.
For boat rentals and package tours to Jomalig and Polillo Island, contact Brian Coralde: 0908-6692469 (number left in the comments section).
WHERE TO GO / WHAT TO DO:
Enjoy the simple beach life: Swim, snorkel, sunbathe and camp out at Salibungot beach or any other beaches in Jomalig.
Go island-hopping: Hire a boat from local fishermen and visit nearby islands and beaches. Aside from Salibungot Beach, you can visit Manlanat Island, Kanaway Beach, and more. Manlanat Island is a small island ideal for bird watching and rock climbing. Kanaway Beach is an isolated spot on the Easternmost side of Jomalig Island. Aside from Salibungot and Kanaway beaches, you can go to Manlanat by boat. Casuguran also has beach huts.
Visit the 2-hectare mangrove area: Within Jomalig Island, there’s a large lake and mangrove area where you can paddle around by boat.
Watch the sunset: Walk along the golden sand beaches. Enjoy the sunset.
Feast on fresh seafood: Pollilo Islands, especially Jomalig offers a variety of fresh and affordable seafood including different types of fish, lobster, shrimp and crab. Be sure to try surahan or unicorn fish if it’s in season.
WHERE TO STAY:
The best option is to bring your own tent and camp out on Salibungot beach or any of the island’s stunning beaches. As a courtesy, ask permission from Barangay Officials before doing so. There’s a small tourism fee of P10 per person. It was a bit stuffy in a tent, so I just slept on a hammock hung up in the trees. Bring your own hammock. There were several public restrooms near the beach campsite. Homestays are also being offered as an alternate accommodation.
As of April 2016, there are two Tejada’s Resort (same owner) operating in Jomalig – one near the port and the second is near the beach in Sitio Landing. Both are owned by a municipal councilor. The one near the beach has rooms with CR inside the house (shared by two rooms) for P500/night & rooms with common CR (public bathroom) for P300/night. The public CR is also shared by those who rent the resthouse (kubo). Contact number: 0907-5375234 (Tatay Rudy – Owner)
The other Tejada Resort near the port has three rooms in the house and they have transient house that can accommodate up to 15 pax. Rate is P500 per night good for two, common bath and additional P100 per person. Room (only one) with own bath is P600 good for two, additional P100 per person. You can use their AC for P1,200 per night.
In my previous post on Jomalig, Gracy Henderson, a local from Jomalig, left a comment saying that her family might welcome visitors. They own two nipa huts beside their house near the church in Brgy. Talisoy, which is normally used by high school students during school months. The nipa huts have double deck papag, its own toilet and running water. Contact # 0930-7968650 (Baby Lopez).
WHAT / WHERE TO EAT:
There were no commercial restaurants or eateries near the beach when we visited (Summer 2014) so most meat was purchased at the market in Real, Quezon, brought on the boat and cooked in the campsite. The seafood was bought from fishermen near the shore. You can buy fresh seafood at Sitio Apad at very low prices.
Seafood is widely available, meat is available once or twice a week, while fruits like bananas are widely available too. Bottled water is sold in stores from 6 litres to 200 ml. ranging from 100 to 10 pesos. There are small sari-sari stores near Salibungot Beach, and some bigger shops for buying supplies in Talisoy, which is 30 mins away.
TRAVEL TIPS & USEFUL INFO:
- Lamon Bay is connected to the Pacific Ocean, so be prepared for a bumpy ride.
- Waterproof all your bags in case. A dry bag is a must for gadgets.
- Electricity only runs from 6:00 pm to 2:00 am. Bring powerbanks and extra batteries in case you can’t charge your gadgets. Conserve smartphone use.
- Globe and Smart both have signals on the island.
- Bring enough cash if you plan to rent a boat for island-hopping.
- Expect delays in travel time. There’s no strict schedule for boat departures and arrivals. Sometimes, they have to wait for other passengers before leaving the port.
- It helps to be early at the port in Real (around 4 or 5am) to ensure that you can get a slot on the passenger boat.
- Bring drinking water and snacks for the boat. Playing cards and lambanog will also come in handy.
- It’s really useful to have a travel pillow and hammock for this kind of trip.
- The best time to visit Jomalig is during Summer Months: March, April & May because the waves are relatively calm.
- Locals say that the best time to visit is April and May because there are festivities in town like dancing at the town plaza.
- Traveling to Jomalig during the months of October, November, December and January is always rough. However, there are still boats coming to and going out of the island to bring supplies, but prepare to be stranded for a couple of days as weather during those months can be unpredictable.
- During town fiestas, most houses have plenty of food,and each of them are open to visitors, you can just simply walk in and ask for food, they will be more than happy to feed you. However, this also means that there are more people in town, so plan your trip accordingly.
- April 27 to 28: Town fiesta of Brgy Apad
- May 4 or 5: Town fiesta of Brgy. Gango
- May 14 to 15: Town fiesta of Brgy. Bukal
- May 18, 19, 20: Town fiesta of the capital town of Talisoy
- June 18 to 19: Town fiesta of Casiguran
- Ms. Kelly Bautista of Quezon Province Tourism Office at 0922-9491145
- Mr. Elmer A. Gariguez, the Acting Tourism Officer of Municipal Tourism Office at (042) 795-0600
- Facebook Page: Jomalig Quezon